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Olivia Kayser tracked down a bouncing ball just in time to turn the Fairport Red Raiders into Section V girls soccer champions.

Kaiser was the first player to reach a pass that bounced over her and a Hilton defender to score with five seconds remaining to give Fairport a 1-0 win and a second Class AA title in four years. 

The stunning finish allowed the Red Raiders to carry home a Section V trophy for the first time since 2017.

Kayser was nowhere near ready to play for Fairport's team back then. She is a freshman this season.

 "I literally froze," Kayser said. "I didn't believe that we just won." 

Play of the game

There were shouts from the Fairport bench with the belief that Isabella Pucci had been knocked down in the box during the final 45 seconds. 

Meanwhile, the Red Raiders on the field worked the ball back to senior Lilian Hicks, who sent a pass with her left foot back into the box that bounced over Kayser and a Hilton defender.

"I figured it was the last play (before overtime), might as well give it a chance," Hicks said.

Kayser decided she could win the race to the ball and that control was the key.

"I was a little worried about my finish," Kayser said. "Thankfully, it went in. It was on the inside of my foot, I tried to pass it in.

"It was bouncing, I almost volleyed it, but kept it under control."

Player of the game

Katie Diem, Fairport senior midfielder: While Kayser made the play of the game and Hilton has quality midfielders, Fairport coach Tom Natalie admired the work of Diem. 

"She is by far one of the best center midfielders around," Natalie said. "She was a monster tonight, that kid covered so much ground.

"This year she played both ways every game, and it made a lot happen for us." 

They said it

"Kudos to Fairport, they were clearly the stronger team. We couldn't get into any rhythm. Kudos to them, they took us off of our game. I was hoping we would get to overtime and catch our breath a little bit." Hilton coach Rick Trabold.

"The last time I looked at the clock there were 30 seconds left. I had no idea. I just shot." Fairport freshman striker Olivia Kayser

"When it hit the back of the net, I froze. I found my friend Katie Diem - this is the 10th year we've played together - and hugged her." Fairport senior outside back (defender) Lilian Hicks

"The girls are playing 'We are the champions' and the (Fairport police) sirens are going," Fairport coach Tom Natalie during the bus ride home.

Good timing

Fairport entered the eight-team tournament with a record of 5-4-1, including a 3-2 win at Hilton on Nov. 7, and as the No. 3 seed. The Red Raiders (8-4-1) ended up closing their season with five wins in a row, winning the tournament final in dramatic fashion on the home field of No. 1 seed Hilton (8-2-2). 

"That was probably the best way to end the season, the best thing to have it end like that, especially it being my senior year," Hicks said.

JAMESJ@Gannett.com

James Johnson covers high school sports for the Democrat and Chronicle. Follow him on Twitter @JJDandC

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